Friday, September 20, 2013

Q&A: Meaning of Sharia remaining silent on an action

It is mentioned in the book: "The Islamic Personality vol. 3, the accredited edition" on page 46 on lines 6 and 7 (in the Arabic edition) what reads: "And what the Shar' is silent about is what it does not prohibit, which is what it permits, and the Wajib [obligatory] and Mandub [recommended] and Mubah [permissible] and Makruh [reprehensible] fall under that."
And I have the following questions:
1. It is stated in the hadith: "سكت عن.." "Was silent on..", so if we assume that it is comprehensive of Wajib and Mandub and Makruh then that would be the lack of clarification from the Legislator about that which must be clarified...
2. He said: "عن أشياء" "About things", and did not say about actions, and what is conceivable about things is permissibility and prohibition, and not its being Wajib or Mandub or Makruh, particularly since the hadith came in the question of the judgment on: (ghee, and cheese, and fur), which are things and not actions...
3. It is stated in the hadith: "رخصة" "Rukhsa [permit]", so how can it be a rukhsa with the interpretation of silence with the possibility of being Wajib?!
4. It is stated in the hadith: "عفو" "'Afu [pardon]", so how can it be a pardon with the interpretation of silence with the possibility of being Wajib?!
5. It is stated in the hadith: "فلا تبحثوا عنها" "Then do not inquire into these", so it prohibits inquiring in this issue, so if it is possibly Wajib or Mandub or Makruh, then he would not have prohibited it?
Please clarify this, and may Allah reward you.

Answer:
1. The relevant hadiths are:
A. What al-Tirmidhi narrated from Salman al-Farisi who said: The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was asked about ghee, cheese and fur. He replied:
«الْحَلاَلُ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّهُ فِي كِتَابِهِ، وَالْحَرَامُ مَا حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ فِي كِتَابِهِ، وَمَا سَكَتَ عَنْهُ فَهُوَ مِمَّا عَفَا عَنْهُ»
"The lawful things are the ones mentioned in Allah's سبحانه وتعالى book as lawful and the unlawful things are the ones which are mentioned in Allah's سبحانه وتعالى book as unlawful, and whatever He سبحانه وتعالى was silent about, then it is a pardon."
And in the narration of Abu Dawud through Ibn Abbas:
«فَبَعَثَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى نَبِيَّهُ، صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَأَنْزَلَ كِتَابَهُ، وَأَحَلَّ حَلَالَهُ، وَحَرَّمَ حَرَامَهُ، فَمَا أَحَلَّ فَهُوَ حَلَالٌ، وَمَا حَرَّمَ فَهُوَ حَرَامٌ، وَمَا سَكَتَ عَنْهُ فَهُوَ عَفْوٌ».
"Then Allah sent His Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and sent down His Book, so he made the lawful lawful, and the prohibited prohibited; so what He made lawful is lawful, and what he made unlawful is unlawful, and what he was silent about is a pardon."
B. And in al-Bayhaqi's Al-Sunan al-Kubra through Tha'alaba (ra):
«إِنَّ اللهَ فَرَضَ فَرَائِضَ، فَلَا تُضَيِّعُوهَا، وَحَّدَ حُدُودًا، فَلَا تَعْتَدُوهَا، وَنَهَى عَنْ أَشْيَاءَ، فَلَا تَنْتَهِكُوهَا، وَسَكَتَ عَنْ أَشْيَاءَ رُخْصَةً لَكُمْ، لَيْسَ بِنِسْيَانٍ، فَلَا تَبْحَثُوا عَنْهَا»
"Verily Allah the Almighty has prescribed the obligatory deeds, so do not neglect them; He has set certain limits, so do not go beyond them; He has forbidden certain things, so do not indulge in them; and He has said nothing about certain things, as a permit for you, not out of forgetfulness, so do not go enquiring into these."
C. Tirmidhi and Daraqutni's hadith on the authority of Ali (ra): When this Ayah was revealed:
وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا
"And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House - for whoever is able to find thereto a way."
They said: "Every year, Oh Messenger of Allah سبحانه وتعالى?" He صلى الله عليه وسلم was silent, so they said: "Every year?" He said:
«لَا وَلَوْ قُلْتُ نَعَمْ لَوَجَبَتْ»
"No, and if I said yes then it would become obligatory"
And Allah سبحانه وتعالى revealed:
يا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لا تَسْئَلُوا عَنْ أَشْياءَ إِنْ تُبْدَ لَكُمْ تَسُؤْكُمْ
"O you who have believed, do not ask about things which, if they are shown to you, will distress you."
To the end of the verse.
And in another narration by Daraqutni on the authority of Abu Hurayra, he said that Allah's Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
«يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْحَجُّ»
"O people, Allah has made the hajj obligatory for you."
A man got up and said, 'Every year, Messenger of Allah?' He turned away from him, then the man repeated and said "Every year Oh Messenger of Allah سبحانه وتعالى?" So he said:
«وَمَنِ الْقَائِلُ»
"Who is that who asks?"
So they said: "This person," and he said:
«وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَوْ قُلْتُ نَعَمْ لَوَجَبَتْ وَلَوْ وَجَبَتْ مَا أَطَقْتُمُوهَا وَلَوْ لَمْ تُطِيقُوهَا لَكَفَرْتُمْ»
"By He who my soul is in his hand, if I had said yes then it would be obligatory and if it was obligatory then you would not handle it and if you were not able to handle it then you would disbelieve."
So Allah سبحانه وتعالى revealed the Ayah,
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لا تَسْئَلُوا عَنْ أَشْياءَ إِنْ تُبْدَ لَكُمْ تَسُؤْكُم 
"O you who have believed, do not ask about things which, if they are shown to you, will distress you."
2. Before delving into their meanings it would be good to refer to some necessary points:
A. The differentiation between "thing and action" is a question of Usul ul-fiqh [the foundations of Islamic Jurisprudence] and not a linguistic question. Otherwise, saying a thing would include the action, and as such classify the Hukm Shari' as fard [obligatory], and wajib [obligatory], mandub [recommended], mubah [permissible], makruh [reprehensible], haram [prohibited], manthoor, and rukhsa [permit], 'azeema, shart [condition], sabab [cause], mani', sahih, fasid, batil... these are terms of Usul ul-fiqh, so if you opened a linguistic dictionary for their meanings you would not find the meaning according to the Usul ul-fiqh.
And these terms of the foundations of Islamic jurisprudence originated after the time of the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم and the Righteous Khalifas, like the grammatical terminology (subject and object)... so if we look in a linguistic dictionary we would find its meaning different from the conventional grammatical meaning.
B. Therefore, if you read a hadith of the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم or his companions (ra) and find the word "thing" or the word "subject", that does not mean the same in conventional terminology, so one must study it to see its correct significance where it falls: Is it a linguistic reality, or a special custom "convention", or a Shar'i reality.
C. If the question is about particular phrases, and the answer was general independent of the question, then the generality is in the topic of the question that the answer addresses, and not specific to the phrases that are found in the question, for example the Sahih hadith that Tirmidhi related through Abu Sayeed al-Khudri, he said: It was said: Oh the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم, Can we perform ablution out of the well of Buda'ah...? So the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
«إِنَّ المَاءَ طَهُورٌ لَا يُنَجِّسُهُ شَيْءٌ»
"Water is pure and is not defiled by anything."
So here the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم was asked about the well of Buda'ah, but the answer was independent of the well of Buda'ah, and the well of Buda'ah was not mentioned in it, only
«إِنَّ المَاءَ طَهُورٌ لَا يُنَجِّسُهُ شَيْءٌ»
"Water is pure and is not defiled by anything."
So the generality is applied to the purification with water whether it is from the well of Buda'ah or from any well, and it cannot be said that the topic of generalization is the well of Buda'ah, instead it can be said that the answer is general and about its topic that is taken from the answer and not from the question, in other words it is taken from
«إِنَّ المَاءَ طَهُورٌ لَا يُنَجِّسُهُ شَيْءٌ»
"Water is pure and is not defiled by anything."
and not from "the well of Buda'ah", or the topic is purification with water, and the topic is not the well of Buda'ah...
3. And now we will answer your questions:
A. Tirmidhi's hadith: The Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم was asked about ghee, cheese, and fur, so he said:
«الْحَلاَلُ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّهُ فِي كِتَابِهِ، وَالْحَرَامُ مَا حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ فِي كِتَابِهِ، وَمَا سَكَتَ عَنْهُ فَهُوَ مِمَّا عَفَا عَنْهُ»
"The lawful things are the ones mentioned in Allah's سبحانه وتعالى book as lawful and the unlawful things are the ones which are mentioned in Allah's سبحانه وتعالى book as unlawful, and whatever He سبحانه وتعالى was silent about, then it is a pardon."
And in the narration of Abu Dawud:
«...وَمَا سَكَتَ عَنْهُ فَهُوَ عَفْوٌ»
"And what he was silent about is a pardon."
So what is followed "وما سكت عنه..." "whatever He سبحانه وتعالى was silent about" returns to the last part that is followed which is "والحرام ما حرم الله في كتابه" "and the unlawful things are the ones which are mentioned in Allah's سبحانه وتعالى book as unlawful", or that what he was silent about is a pardon from the haram, and is halal.
The generalization here is in its topic, but because the answer is more general than the question and independent of it then the topic is taken from the answer and not from the question, and therefore it includes everything that is halal or haram whether it is in regards to ghee and cheese and fur or a matter that falls under halal or under haram. This applies to everything that falls under "thing or action" according to the conventional meaning, because if it applies to a thing, then halal here means "permissible", and if it is applies to an action, then halal here is what is not haram, in other words what is "fard, mandub, mubah, makruh."
B. Al-Bayhaqi's hadith through Abu Tha'alaba (ra):
«... وَنَهَى عَنْ أَشْيَاءَ، فَلَا تَنْتَهِكُوهَا، وَسَكَتَ عَنْ أَشْيَاءَ رُخْصَةً لَكُمْ، لَيْسَ بِنِسْيَانٍ، فَلَا تَبْحَثُوا عَنْهَا»
"...He has forbidden certain things, so do not indulge in them; and He has said nothing about certain things, as a permit for you, not out of forgetfulness, so do not go enquiring into these"
In this hadith are three matters:
The first:
"سكت عن أشياء"
"He has said nothing about certain things."
And "things" here is not according to the conventional meaning, as in something other than an action, instead it includes actions, for example in the blessed Ayah:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَسْأَلُوا عَنْ أَشْيَاءَ إِنْ تُبْدَ لَكُمْ تَسُؤْكُمْ وَإِنْ تَسْأَلُوا عَنْهَا حِينَ يُنَزَّلُ الْقُرْآنُ تُبْدَ لَكُمْ عَفَا اللَّهُ عَنْهَا وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ حَلِيمٌ
"O you who have believed, do not ask about things which, if they are shown to you, will distress you. But if you ask about them while the Qur'an is being revealed, they will be shown to you. Allah has pardoned that which is past; and Allah is Forgiving and Forbearing."
And what was asked about was "the action of Hajj". It is mentioned in the Tafsir of Qurtubi (330/6):
(Tirmidhi and al-Darqatni's hadith on the authority of Ali (ra) who said: When this Ayah:
وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا
"And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House - for whoever is able to find thereto a way."
Was revealed they said: Oh Messenger of Allah, every year? So he was silent, so they said: Every year? He said:
«لَا وَلَوْ قُلْتُ نَعَمْ لَوَجَبَتْ»
"No, and if I said yes then it would become obligatory."
So Allah سبحانه وتعالى revealed the Ayah:
يا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لا تَسْئَلُوا عَنْ أَشْياءَ إِنْ تُبْدَ لَكُمْ تَسُؤْكُم 
"O you who have believed, do not ask about things which, if they are shown to you, will distress you."
To the end of the verse.
And in another narration by Daraqutni on the authority of Abu Hurayra, he said that Allah's Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
«يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْحَجُّ»
"O people, Allah has made the hajj obligatory for you."
A man stood up and said, 'Every year, Messenger of Allah?' He turned away from him, then the man repeated and said, "Every year Oh Messenger of Allah سبحانه وتعالى?" So he said:
«وَمَنِ الْقَائِلُ»
"Who is that who asks"
So they said: This person, he said:
«وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَوْ قُلْتُ نَعَمْ لَوَجَبَتْ وَلَوْ وَجَبَتْ مَا أَطَقْتُمُوهَا وَلَوْ لَمْ تُطِيقُوهَا لَكَفَرْتُمْ»
"By He who my soul is in his hand, if I had said yes then it would be obligatory and if it was obligatory then you would not handle it and if you were not able to handle it then you would disbelieve"
So Allah revealed the Ayah:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لا تَسْئَلُوا عَنْ أَشْياءَ إِنْ تُبْدَ لَكُمْ تَسُؤْكُم
"O you who have believed, do not ask about things which, if they are shown to you, will distress you."
And it is clear that what was asked about was Hajj, and it is an "action", and the Aya about "things" was applied to it.
And the second:
"وسكت عن أشياء رخصة لكم"
"He has said nothing about certain things, as a permit for you"
And this followed
"وسكت..."
"He has said nothing..."
Is returned to the nearest, followed on
"وَنَهَى عَنْ أَشْيَاءَ، فَلَا تَنْتَهِكُوهَا"
"He has forbidden certain things, so do not indulge in them"
In other words the permit is from the definitive forbidding "haram" rather than "indulge in them", or what he was silent about was a permit for what is haram, so it is halal. If what was asked about it was a thing by conventional meaning, then it applies and then halal here is permissibility, and if what was asked about was an action by conventional meaning, then this applies and the halal here would be what is not haram, or what is "fard, mandub,mubah, and makruh.."
Third:
"فلا تبحثوا عنها"
"So do not go enquiring into these"
It is connected to the followed
"وسكت عن أشياء"
"He has said nothing about certain things"
On the followed by
"وَنَهَى عَنْ أَشْيَاءَ، فَلَا تَنْتَهِكُوهَا"
"He has forbidden certain things, so do not indulge in them"
Meaning it is halal, so do not look for its prohibition, and it does not mean to not look for its judgment in terms of fard or mandub... because the meaning of the hadith is that what was silent about is halal, so do not look for its prohibition out of fear that it will be made haram because of your asking about it, as was mentioned in Bukhari's hadith: On the authority of Sa'ad bin Abu Waqqas, that the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
«إِنَّ أَعْظَمَ المُسْلِمِينَ جُرْمًا، مَنْ سَأَلَ عَنْ شَيْءٍ لَمْ يُحَرَّمْ، فَحُرِّمَ مِنْ أَجْلِ مَسْأَلَتِهِ»
"The most sinful person among the Muslims is the one who asked about something which had not been prohibited, but was prohibited because of his asking."
4- And based on that, then what you mentioned in your question is as follows:
• Your saying "so if we assume that it is comprehensive for Wajib and Mandub and Makruh then that would be the lack of clarification from the Lawmaker (Allah)...":
The issue stated in the hadith is between halal and haram, and it has been shown that what is silent about is halal, so the topic of the hadith has been completely clarified. The inquiry into what kind of halal "wajib, mandub, mubah, makruh" in the case of what is being asked about is an action in Usul ul-fiqh meaning, then it is sought from other hadiths, because all the rulings are not taken from one hadith, and this is known by the people of Ijtihad and Usul ul-fiqh.
• Your saying"أشياء" "things": We have clarified that this includes actions, and it does not matter that what was asked about was "ghee and cheese and fur", because the answer is more general than the question. It can be that what was asked about was a "thing" in conventional terms, as is in the hadith "cheese...", and it can be that what was asked about is an "action" as in the hadith "Hajj..." The blessed Ayah called what was asked about (the action of Hajj) a "أشياء" "thing", and the Almighty سبحانه وتعالى said:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَسْأَلُوا عَنْ أَشْيَاءَ إِنْ تُبْدَ لَكُمْ تَسُؤْكُمْ وَإِنْ تَسْأَلُوا عَنْهَا حِينَ يُنَزَّلُ الْقُرْآنُ تُبْدَ لَكُمْ عَفَا اللَّهُ عَنْهَا وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ حَلِيمٌ
"O you who have believed, do not ask about things which, if they are shown to you, will distress you. But if you ask about them while the Qur'an is being revealed, they will be shown to you. Allah has pardoned that which is past; and Allah is Forgiving and Forbearing."
• Your saying "رخصة...": "permit": It is a permit from the haram, and that means it is halal.
• Your saying "عفو...": "Pardon": It is a pardon from the haram, and that means it is halal.
• Your saying: "فلا تبحثوا عنها" "So do not go enquiring into these": This means do not search for its prohibition, so that it will be made prohibited due to your asking. It does not mean for you not to search for other than its prohibition, because the topic is not asking the question that leads to prohibition in the time of the revelation, so that the issue would be made prohibited because of the question as is in the hadith
«إِنَّ أَعْظَمَ المُسْلِمِينَ جُرْمًا، مَنْ سَأَلَ عَنْ شَيْءٍ لَمْ يُحَرَّمْ، فَحُرِّمَ مِنْ أَجْلِ مَسْأَلَتِهِ»
"The most sinful person among the Muslims is the one who asked about something which had not been prohibited, but was prohibited because of his asking."
As for asking in other issues, it is required to know the rulings as in the hadith of Abu Dawud on the authority of Jabir that the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
«...أَلَا سَأَلُوا إِذْ لَمْ يَعْلَمُوا فَإِنَّمَا شِفَاءُ الْعِيِّ السُّؤَالُ»
"Ask what you do not know, for the Medicine for ignorance is inquiry."
I hope that the answer was clarified.
25 Jumada II 1434 AH
05/05/2013 CE

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